Review: Odysseus Ascendant, Evan Currie

Rating: 4 out of 5

Evan Currie is really giving empires a bad name — I wonder what they ever did to him? Too much of the social aspect on these novels now seems to be a bit too “perfect” if this makes sense. If the social conduct of this foreign power was a bit different, if the hierarchies worked a bit different, if there was a clear underlying motive to what they are doing…

I did enjoy it — but that’s more due to the amount of innovation and enterprising solutions which get presented, though I was not a fan of that last and final one. What was impressive was how good a tactician some of the people in it were, and therefore how thoroughly thought out some of the action starting with Books 3 and 4 has actually been. This was an aspect which increased my estimation of the author.

Lastly, every book that passes makes it look as if there could be twenty more — although Mr Currie also indicated in which direction this series is going and who is the “real” antagonist, which is a fact that is probably quite obvious to the reader but not to the people in the actual novel. We’ll see how true this course is — or, at least, I will, because despite some of the negatives above I will read the next one as well.

Review: Odysseus Awakening, Evan Currie

Rating: 4 out of 5

The series’ sixth installment continues much as before although with a slight change to the previous narrative structure (only one conflict here though it lasts for the duration of the book). The (often dark) humour of the previous episodes continues here much as it did elsewhere, but I am in general less happy with this one — mostly because these novels really play out as a more complex level after the previous one, and so on in an endless series. If you took this to the logical conclusion, this might never end.  Continue reading “Review: Odysseus Awakening, Evan Currie”

Review: Warrior King, Evan Currie

Rating: 4 out of 5

I recently noticed that Books 6 and 7 of this series were out, so I wanted to refamiliarise myself with the previous volume and then jump to those two. Reading it again, I think I am drawing the same conclusions as I did the last time round: This is not the best book ever written, nor is it even a close second — what it is, however, is thoroughly enjoyable entertainment. Continue reading “Review: Warrior King, Evan Currie”

‘Into the Black’, E. Currie

Evan Currie’s fourth book in the ‘Into the Black’ saga is out in about a week. With that in mind, I decided to reread the previous three books, to have them fresh in my mind. I finished slightly earlier than what I had previously planned, so I have some time before I carry on with the final statement in that series. What I definitely wish to emphasise is that the author is an excellent storyteller, I enjoy the setting and the characters, even if not all of them are the deepest people in the world. I find they have a reality to themselves, a reality which, if I paraphrase the books, “has a quality all its own”.

This time round, one of the things I noticed was the number of inconsistencies between the books — the regrettable oversight of swapping Doctors Palin and Rame in Books 1, 2, and 3 (or rather, swapping them in Book 2 but not keeping to that mistake for Book 3 where he could have been written in properly); the countered statement from Book 2 in Book 3 which implied the Archangels were not at full strength after battle losses; etc. These inconsistencies make me unhappy because I can’t imagine they would have been difficult to flesh out in the direction the author wanted to take the books from the beginning. However, they weren’t. I shall only hope that the final instalment will be more consistent with the previous ones.

On the rest of the books, I find that I enjoy the story more and more. The concept of duty is explored so thoroughly I could not wish for anything more. Similarly treated is an odd quality we might call ‘sanity’. Who or what is sane? Is life? I can’t say I know, but it is interesting to think about. It is this (and the famous lifted statement from Battlestar Galactica) which led me to reflect a few days back how interesting the universe would be if we saw with our eyes some different frequency, some different wavelength. Imagine how our perspectives would be different…

And the Drasin allow for such imaginations. They are killers, certain, but there is nothing to indicate they are malevolent. And that may be the interesting bit about it all — anger is the emotion which is common to both these creatures and the humans. Nothing else. Will we be ever only capable of understanding things which are different from us through anger? One would hope not…

In any case, the last book awaits. I shall let you know what I think of it after I am finished. I am sure, however, it will not disappoint.

‘The Heart of Matter’, E. Currie

“She thought it was the east, actually, but now she thought of it, she wasn’t sure that the sun rose in the east here. Or does it automatically become the east if the sun rises there?”

Being very enthused by ‘Into the Black’ just a few days ago, I jumped at the opportunity of getting the sequel today when it came out for my precious Kindle. Bought and read, would be the short conclusion. And, I liked it. And I think I understand why I like Evan Currie’s writings as much as I have recently.

The reason for that comes from the simple fact that he manages to make the most of anything he says. The action scenes are well portrayed, and approached at from many different angles, making for a very wide look at the problems and situations. Plus, he manages to add a wonderful amount of humour into deadly situations — indeed, I spent most of the time while reading in (quiet) laughter.

The situation in the book has progressed from what it was before when the Earth (well, North American Confederation) space-cruiser made contact with the Colonial civilization, and we’re back in action. New contact is made with the wonderful Drasin. And, yes, the Drasin are wonderful. I would say that in many a way, their characterisation helps this book along as we get a point of view that the in-universe humans lack.

So, we get a very nice sequel that could be said to surpass the previous installment of the series.

“Survival versus personal satisfaction — it was a terrible choice to have to make.”

EDIT: 15-05-2013, changed the title to refer to the actual book by Evan Currie, ‘The Heart of Matter’.

‘Into the Black’, E. Currie

“It’s what we do.”

When speaking of science fiction, the usual names that come to my mind would be Clarke and Asimov. With some thought, I would add a few others. But, this book that I read expanded my science-fiction to this new writer (relatively new at least, with respect to the aforementioned two), Evan Currie. I was relatively surprised by the plot that he had come up with for ‘Into the Black’, and I am now quite eagerly looking forward to reading the sequel to that. So, yes, I gave that much away, there is a sequel.

Unfortunately, though Mr Currie has devised a good plot for this book, he has not gone so far to allow the forces of darkness (well, a bit exaggerated, but close enough) to win. That I guess will be left to someone else in the future. But, despite this (sad) shortcoming the book is very interesting. The plot did resemble, for an odd second, Stargate, but fortunately then steered well away (anyone who reads will probably recognize that one passage).

Added to this is a healthy dose of military maneuvering and combat, and this makes altogether for a very good and compelling book. So, if you like sci-fi, read it. You might just like it as well!

“On such flimsical flickers of the universe rested the fate of an entire world.”

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